Single Dumbbell Exercises (An Ultimate Workout Guide)

You can do a myriad of exercises if you have just one dumbbell at home. From the chest, shoulders, and arms to legs, back and core, I’ve shared a plethora of single dumbbell exercises that you can do to train your full body and build muscles at home.

What Exercises Can You do with one Dumbbell?

From dumbbell pullover, squat, and press to single dumbbell rowing, lunges, curl, and side bends, you can do as many as fifty exercises for full body parts.

I’ve shared single dumbbell exercises for each muscle group, such as the chest, back, arms, core, legs, and shoulder.

So this article will be long because I’ve incorporated as many exercises as possible that you can do at home with only one dumbbell.

Explore Dumbbell Exercises Category

One dumbbell workout for legs

You can do plenty of leg exercises with a single dumbbell, such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes are major muscles of the lower body that you need to strengthen.

Related: A Complete List of Dumbbell Leg Exercises

Here’s how you can do the best lower body workouts with only one dumbbell with step-by-step instructions.

1. Single Dumbbell Lunge

Single Dumbbell Lunges
One Dumbbell Lunges
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your hands, stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and keep the dumbbell in front of you chest.
  3. Take a large step forward with your left leg, bend your knees and lower them down toward the floor.
  4. Press back until your legs are straight. That’s one rep. Complete as many reps as you like.
  5. Repeat same on another side.

2. Single dumbbell squat

  1. Holding one dumbbell with your hands, stand upright in the shoulder-width stance.
  2. Keep the dumbbell in front of your chest by bending your elbows. That’s the starting position.
  3. Pushing your hips backward, slightly bend your knees, and lower down into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pressing into the floor, slowly stand back to complete your first rep.
  5. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

Also Read: Different Types Of Squat Variations And Benefits


3. Single-leg RDL with One Dumbbell

Single-leg RDL with One Dumbbell
One Dumbbell RDL
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip and stand straight with your feet together in the hip-width stance.
  2. Pushing your hips backward, lower your torso toward the floor and raise your left leg behind you until they are parallel to the ground.
  3. Try to hold in that position for a couple of seconds and then return to the starting position. That’s your one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of six to eight repetitions each, each side.
Related: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift: How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits And Alternatives

4. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees in front of you.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with both ends and place it over your hips.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles and glutes, and thrust your hips upward as high as you can.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds when your knees and chest are in line. And then lower your hips back on the ground. That is your one rep.
  5. Do two sets of eight to ten repetitions each.

5. Sumo Squat with One Dumbbell

  1. Grab the head of a dumbbell with your hands and stand straight with your feet two times wider than hip-width apart and toes pointing slightly outward. That is your starting position.
  2. Keep your back straight, bend your knees, and squat down until your glute is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pushing into the floor, stand upright to complete the first repetition.

You may also like: Sumo Deadlift: Form, How-To, Benefits & More


6. Single DB Calf Raises

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, step up onto a foot platform. Place your right hand on the wall for support.
  2. Lower your right heel down, and then raise it upward as high as you can.
  3. Squeezing your calves, pause for a moment and lower it down and repeat. You’ll feel the contraction in your calves during the movement.
Related: Calf Raises Exercises & Benefits

7. Dumbbell Leg Extension

The dumbbell leg extension is one of the best workouts which you can do only a single dumbbell. It works as a great alternative to machine leg extension and helps you build up quadriceps.

exercises with one dumbbell
DB Leg Extension

How to do dumbbell leg extension

  1. Sit on the end of a bench with your feet flat on the floor and arms are straight at your sides.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and brace your core.
  3. Extend your legs until your knees are entirely straight so your quads can fully engage.
  4. Contracting your quadriceps, hold in this position for a couple of seconds before lowering to the start.
Read more about Dumbbell Leg Extension

8. Dumbbell Leg Curl

You can strengthen your hamstrings at home with dumbbells. The dumbbell leg curl is an excellent alternative to hamstring machine curl and allows you to build strong hamstring muscles.

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you can do the dumbbell leg curl without a bench at home.

The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Lie on the mat on your stomach with your face down.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and bring the weight towards your glute.
  3. Pause for a couple of seconds and then return to the standing position.
Check out more about Dumbbell Leg Curl

Single Dumbbell Chest Workouts

Building a chest isn’t easy with only one dumbbell; however, you can still do four to five exercises for your chest.

Let’s see how to do chest workouts with one dumbbell with step-by-step instructions.

1. Single-arm Dumbbell Chest Press

one dumbbell chest workout
  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with any of your hands and hold it at your chest level and keep your opposite arm straight above your chest.
  3. Squeezing your chest muscle, press the dumbbell upward until your arm is entirely straight.
  4. Pause for a moment and lower the dumbbell. That’s the first rep.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

2. Chest Fly with one dumbbell

  1. Lie on a bench on your back, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Keep your right arm straight at your side.
  3. Raise your arm until it is straight over the chest. You’ll feel the contraction in the chest muscle.
  4. Pause for a moment and then lower to the start. That’s one rep!

3. DB Squeeze press with one dumbbell

One dumbbell workout for chest
One dumbbell workout for chest
  1. Lie on the mat and grab a dumbbell with both your hands.
  2. Hold the dumbbell just above your chest with your elbows bent.
  3.  Squeezing your chest, slowly press the dumbbell over your chest until your arms are entirely straight.
  4. Pause for a moment and then lower your arms to the start to complete the first rep.

4. Single-arm Dumbbell upward Fly

Single dumbbell chest exercises
  • Holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand, stand upright in the normal stance.
  • Keep your arms straight at your sides and chest up.
  • Engaging your chest muscle, raise your right arm forward until it reaches in front of your chest.
  • Pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s the first repetition.
  • Complete a couple of sets of eight to ten repetitions.

5. Dumbbell Pullover

  • Lie on a bench on your back with your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the head of a dumbbell with your hands and keep your arms straight behind your head. That is the starting position.
  • Pull the dumbbells behind you until your arms are directly above your upper chest. That’s the one rep.
  • You’ll feel the contraction in your chest and lats when you pull the dumbbell over.

The Best Single Dumbbell Exercises for Shoulders

You can do various exercises for shoulders with only one dumbbell, such as front raise, lateral raise, rear delt fly, and shoulder shrug.

The dumbbells allow a great range of motion and help you target muscles specifically.

A study suggests shoulder press and lateral raise exercises elicit a higher muscle activation in the anterior deltoid and medial deltoid compared to the bench press and DB fly exercises. 1Different Shoulder Exercises Affect the Activation of Deltoid Portions in Resistance-Trained Individuals – Journal of Human Kinetics

Let’s find out how to do single dumbbell shoulder exercises with stepwise instructions.

single dumbbell exercises for shoulders/shoulder workout with one dumbbell /

1. Single Dumbbell Overhead Press

single dumbbell workout for shoulder
single dumbbell workout for shoulder
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand and stand upright in the shoulder-width stance.
  2. Bend your elbow and hold the dumbbell above your shoulder height. That’s the start.
  3. Press the dumbbell overhead until your arm is straight and then return to the start.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, each side.

2. Front Raise with one dumbbell

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arm straight in front of your thigh.
  2. Raise your in front of you until it reaches your shoulder height.
  3. Hold for a moment and then lower your arm back to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do two to three sets of ten to twelve reps.

3. Single-arm Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Shoulder exercise with one dumbbell
Shoulder exercise with one dumbbell
  1. Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip with your left hand, stand upright in the hip-width stance and keep your arm straight at your side.
  2. Raise your arm out to the side until it is parallel to the ground.
  3. Pause for a moment and then lower your arm back to the start. That is one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of ten to twelve reps.

4. Single Dumbbell Bent Arm Lateral Raise

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your right arm bent with your forearm is parallel to the ground, the elbow is facing down.
  3. Engaging your shoulder, raise your elbow until your palm is facing down and elbow outward.
  4. Hold for a second, and then lower your elbow to the start.

5. Rear Delt One Dumbbell Row

The single-arm delt row allows you to focus and build one delt muscle at a time.


6. Single-arm Dumbbell Shrug

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shrug your right shoulder as much as you can without bending your elbows.
  3. Squeezing your shoulder blades, pause for a couple of seconds, and then return to the start. That’s one rep for one side.
  4. Do the desired number of sets and reps.

Single Dumbbell Exercises for Biceps, Triceps and Wrists (Arms)

You can do plenty of arm exercises with only one dumbbell, such as biceps curls, triceps extension, and wrist curls.

I’ve shared the ten best single dumbbell workouts for biceps, triceps, and wrists to help you build strong arms.

1. One-arm Dumbbell Curl

Bicep workout with one dumbbell
  1. Holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your arm straight at your side with your palm is facing inward.
  3. Curl your arm until your palm faces your front shoulder.
  4. You’ll feel the contraction in your biceps.
  5. Pause for a second, and then lower your arms at your side. That’s the first rep.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of times.

2. Single-arm Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Single dumbbell exercise for biceps
Single dumbbell exercise for biceps
  1. Holding a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and keep your arm straight at your side.
  2. Curl your working arm toward your shoulder so the biceps muscle can engage, and then extend your arm to complete one rep.
  3. Do as many reps and sets you like, each side.

3. Crossover Curl

  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, keep your arm straight and stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Curl your right arm toward your left shoulder until your biceps can engage.
  3. Pause for a moment and then lower your arms to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of the desired number of repetitions on each side.

4. Single-arm DB Incline Curl

If you have a flexible bench at home, you can also do incline curl exercise with a single dumbbell.

How to:

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lie on your back on an incline bench (45-60 degrees) and keep your arm at your side.
  2. Curl your right arm toward your shoulder, pause and then extend your arm. That’s one rep!
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on each side.

5. Single DB Concentration Curl

one dumbbell workout for biceps
one dumbbell workout for biceps
  1. Sit on the end of a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand.
  3. Slightly bend forward and place the back of your upper arm inside of your right thigh.
  4. Curl your arm until your biceps muscles are engaged.
  5. Pause for a moment and then extend your arm. That is your one repetition.
  6. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

6. Single-arm Overhead Extension

single dumbbell exercise for triceps
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with your elbow bent behind your head. You can do it while sitting or standing.
  2. Extend your elbow until your arm is straight so your triceps can engage.
  3. Keeping your arm extended, pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do as many reps and sets as you like, each side.

7. Triceps Kickback

one dumbbell arm workout
  1. Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip with your right hand.
  2. Bend your torso forward and keep your working arm at your side and slightly raise your elbow. That’s the start.
  3. Extend your upper arm back until your triceps muscles can engage.
  4. Pause for a moment and then return to the start.
  5. Do a couple of sets of the desired number of repetitions on each side.

8. Both-arm Dumbbell Overhead Extension

  1. Holding the top of the dumbbell with your hands, bend your elbows, and keep the dumbbell behind your head. That’s the start.
  2. Extend your arms overhead until they are entirely straight.
  3. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then lower the dumbbell behind your head to complete one rep.
  4. Do as many sets and reps as you can.

9. Single-arm DB skull crusher

single dumbbell workouts for triceps
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lie on a flat or incline bench on your back and keep your arm straight.
  2. Bend your elbow and lower your upper arm backward.
  3. Extend your elbow until your arm is entirely straight. That’s one rep.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, each side.

10. Dumbbell Wrist Curl with One Dumbbell

  1. Grab a dumbbell in the right hand with an underhand grip.
  2. Sitting on your knees, place your wrist on a flat bench with your palm is facing up.
  3. Curl your wrist as many times as you like. Do the equal number of sets for each arm.

Single Dumbbell Exercises For Abs

You can do several workouts for abs with just only one dumbbell if you want to boost your core strength and stability.

I’ve shared the best exercises that I do at home to strengthen my abs and core with a single dumbbell.

1. Crunches with one Dumbbell

one dumbbell workout abs
  1. Lie on the floor on your back with your knees are bent in front of you.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with your hands and keep your arms straight toward the ceiling.
  3. Raise your upper body as high as you can with keeping your arm straight.
  4. Lower your torso back on the floor and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

2. DB Russian Twist

Abs workout with one dumbbell
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs are straight in front of you.
  2. Grab a dumbbell and hold it firmly with your hands.
  3. Slightly lift your feet off the ground and twist the dumbbell to the right and the left.
  4. Do as many times as you can.
  5. Make sure you feel the contraction in your love handles.

3. Single DB Side Bend

  1. Holding one dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright in the hip-width stance.
  2. Lowering the weight at your side, try to bend as much as possible so your oblique muscle can engage.
  3. Pause for a moment and then straighten your body. That’s one rep!
  4. Do a couple of sets of 10 to 12 reps each, each side.

4. Single Dumbbell Side Plank

  1. Lie on your right side with your right forearm on the floor.
  2. Keep your left leg stacked on the right one.
  3. Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and keep your arm straight toward the ceiling.
  4. Keeping your oblique tight, stay in this position for as long as you can.
  5. Once you complete, switch on the opposite side. You can repeat twice.

5. Leg Raises with One Dumbbell

Single dumbbell workout for Abs
  1. Lie on the floor with your legs are straight in front of you.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and brace your core.
  3. Raise your legs upward until your heels are facing toward the ceiling.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then return your legs down.
  5. You’ll feel the contraction in your abs when you raise upward.

6. Reverse Crunches with a single dumbbell

  1. Lie on the floor with your legs are straight in front of you.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and keep your arms straight at your sides.
  3. Lift your legs off the ground.
  4. Bring your knees toward your chest until your abs muscle can engage.
  5. Hold in that position for a second, extend your legs, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

The Best Back Exercises with Single Dumbbell

If you do not see gains with bodyweight back exercises, you can incorporate some single dumbbell workouts in your home workout routine.

I’ve shared the top six workouts below that will help you build string back at home with just one dumbbell.

1. Single dumbbell row/One arm dumbbell row

one dumbbell workout for back
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Place your left hand on an elevated object for support.
  3. Slightly bend forward and keep your right arm straight downward. That’s the starting position.
  4. Raise your elbow at your side as high as you can.
  5. Lower your arm to the start after a second of pause. That is your one rep.
  6. Do as many sets and reps as you like.

2. One-arm Dumbbell Reverse Fly

single dumbbell workout for back
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Push your hips backward, slightly bending your knees, and leaning your torso forward until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  3. Raise the dumbbell out to the side so your upper back muscles can engage.
  4. Pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s one rep!
  5.  Repeat for the desired number of times and the switch on another side.

3. Bent over Single DB Rowing

back workout with one dumbbell
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Pushing your hips backward, slightly bend your knees, and bend forward.
  3. Keep your other arm straight and perform rowing with the arm you’re holding a dumbbell with.
  4.  Repeat for the desired number of times and the switch on another side.
  5. Do a couple of sets of ten to twelve reps each.

4. Incline Plank rowing

back exercise with one dumbbell
  1. Get into an incline plank position with your arms straight underneath your shoulder.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with your right hand, brace your core and raise your elbow at your side as high as you can.
  3. Pause for a moment and then return your arm to the start. It is one rep for one side.
  4. Do as many reps and sets as you like, equally on both sides.  

5. DB Good Morning

Good morning is one of the best exercises you can do with a single dumbbell to strengthen your lower back.

The good-morning workout also strengthens the hamstring.

How to:

lower back workout with one dumbbell
  1. Stand upright in the shoulder-width stance holding a dumbbell with your hands close to your chest.
  2. Hinge at your hips and lower your torso forward (Stand upright in the shoulder-width stance holding a dumbbell with your hands close to your chest.
  3. Lower your torso forward (with a slight bend in your knees) until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds and then extend your hips to stand upright. That is your one repetition.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of times.

6. DB Pullover

A dumbbell pullover doesn’t only strengthen the chest but also builds strong lats.

You can do a pullover when you do single dumbbell exercises for your back.


30-45 minute One Dumbbell Workout Plan

Monday

  • DB Squeeze Press
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • Dumbell Chest Fly
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • DB Front Raises
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • Rear Delt One Dumbbell Row
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • Single-Arm Overhead Extension
    • 10 x 2 reps
  • Triceps Kickback
    • 10 x 2 reps

Wednesday

  • Single Dumbbell Lunge: 10 x 2 reps
  • One Dumbbell Squat: 10 x 2 reps
  • Single-Leg RDL: 10 x 2 reps
  • Dumbbell Glute Bridge: 10 x 2 reps
  • Sumo Squat: 10 x 2 reps
  • DB Calf Raises: 10 x 2 reps

Friday

  • One Arm Dumbbell Row: 10 x 2 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Reverse Fly: 10 x 2 reps
  • Incline Plank Rowing: 10 x 2 reps
  • DB Good Morning: 10 x 2 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Curl: 10 x 2 reps
  • Single DB Concentration Curl: 10 x 2 reps
  • Leg Raises With One Dumbbell: AMRAP x 2
  • Single DB Side Bend: AMRAP x 2
  • DB Russian Twist: AMRAP x 2

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